Digital Apprenticeship Service

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The Education and Skills Funding Agency were delivering a new digital apprenticeship service with a vision of “empowering employers to build skills through quality apprenticeships”. Giving employers the power to control how the government funding for apprenticeships is spent, was the hey output to increase the quality and quantity of apprenticeships.

We built a team around user research, interaction, service and content design for the Digital Apprenticeship Service.

This complex service provides a straightforward way for businesses to create apprenticeships and access funding, whilst handling a large volume of opportunities and applicants. It represents a complete transformation in the way that apprenticeships are created and funded. The objective was to significantly increase the number of apprenticeships, especially in small businesses, and to address key skill gaps i.e., digital and technology.

The Digital Apprenticeship Service is also on the government’s Major Project Portfolio , with high profile stakeholders, milestones and public interest.

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We currently run a large team of over 25 digital specialists in key roles on the programme, delivering service/product management, delivery management, technical architecture, user research, UX design, front end development and content design in multidisciplinary teams to develop the service supporting the wide range of large stakeholders in and out of government .

The service is part of a larger government transformation program, involving the National Careers Service, National Apprenticeship Service, Institute for Apprenticeships and DfE.

Our team was deeply involved in developing the alpha and beta of the service, with significant regular user research into needs, insights and attitudes towards the service.

The team have integrated successfully with other teams, civil servants and policy owners, and in the alpha and beta stages gained an excellent reputation for bringing a culture of building clickable prototypes for testing with users (something which was not happening before we were involved). We created a content microsite, to help other teams access the right copy and design mechanisms across the programme, and built design clans, now run in house by the lead designers and researchers.

The Digital Apprenticeship Service is now live, and we continue to support its ongoing continuous improvement, working in multidisciplinary multi-vendor teams.